This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 765 words.
Before I bothered to deal with Danielle, I had to make sure the animals were okay. I opened the back gate at the end of the large garden, leading onto the field beyond. Then I filled all the food and water containers, before opening all the cages and sheds containing every animal. For those kept inside, like the cats and hedgehogs, I left the back door wide open, and emptied the surplus food onto the lawn. At least they could all make their escape, if they chose to do so.
Danielle was short, but she was heavy. It took some effort to carry her out to my van, and roll her onto the duvet stored in the back. Once she was on her side, and covered by the quilt, I went back to retrieve her handbag and mobile phone. I wanted the outside world to believe that it had all become too much for her, and she had just freed all the animals, then left. I didn’t even bother to lock the front door with her keys, just closed it behind me.
Guessing that she would be asleep for up to twelve hours, I had plenty of time to get some rest before arranging things. I undressed her and put her into the same container that had stored Shell, before going up to the house to get some sleep. I set an alarm for six in the morning, which I was sure would leave me sufficient time. Danielle had been a tight fit in my container. Despite her short stature, the amount of fat on her sides and legs had necessitated stuffing some of her flab tight against the reinforced perspex. I was hot and tired by the time I got up to the house, so had a shower before bed.
The next morning, I was up before first light to check on Danielle. She was still sleeping soundly, so I attached my recent purchase of a blood pressure monitor that also gave an indication of her pulse rate. Then I went to collect my insect and arachnid menagerie from the heated storage. I opened the main lid of Danielle’s container, and carefully placed some of the larger creatures inside using tongs. Then with the lid half closed, I added the numerous crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts before quickly securing the lid in case some escaped. Increasing the heat and humidity inside the container, I watched as the various different creepy-crawlies walked around her unconscious body, finding places for themselves in the crowded space.
Some of them began to fight, others were obviously eating each other. The full horror and carnage of the insect world was being played out before my eyes, and I switched on the cameras, sure that Danielle would soon be awake. My notes were compiled in a fenzied manner, completing a full page in moments. Even though I knew I could review the video footage later, I was keen to write things down as I saw them happening. As she still appeared to be deeply asleep, I placed the scorpions into some perspex boxes, and put them on top of the container, just above her face.
With her seemingly unable to be roused, I went to deal with the dilemma of an acid container. It was plain to see that the one I had used for Shell would not be big enough, so I took up my welding torch, and began to fashion one suitably large enough from three metal plates in the corner. It had to be completely watertight of course, as I would not have wanted the acid to leak later on. The one I was constructing would then need to rest for at least one hour before use, to harden.
I was sure that I would have that time to observe Danielle, and more besides.
Once my construction was satisfactory, I used a wheeled dolly to get it into position under the tank full of acid. Sure it was reliably seated, I went back to watch Danielle wake up. She was still snoring, and I had an idea that I might have to physically wake her. But my access portholes were closed tight, to stop all the invertebrates from escaping. I sat back and made some notes, so this problem would not happen in future experiments. Then a rattling sound from the container attracted my attention.
Danielle had woken up and was pushing against the sides, as best as he could, She was making no sound though, so I looked over at the view inside.
The giant hissing cockroach was completely covering her mouth.